Man Convicted in Parents’ Death Can’t Inherit Their Assets

For many families in California and around the country, deciding who gets to inherit what from an estate can be a difficult if not contentious process. Ultimately, of course, it is up to the individual who gets what under the terms of that person’s estate planning.

A peculiar case is playing out that involves more intrigue than the average probate litigation. An elderly husband and wife were shot to death in 2010. Ultimately the couple’s son was charged and convicted of murdering them. As a result of the convictions, the man is not eligible to receive any proceeds from the estate. However, a judge recently approved probate records in the case that will allow the man’s children — the deceased couple’s grandchildren — to inherit more than $700,000.

The couple’s other child will receive the same amount. Her share will likely be paid out sooner — when the trust that has been set up approves it — while the children’s share will not be disbursed until the younger of the two reaches age 25, about a decade from now.

For his part, the man says he is not guilty of the crimes. His contention is that the elderly couple were the victims of a professional killer but in a case of mistaken identity and that the intended targets were actually their neighbors. The man’s wife and children have said that they believe in his innocence. Prosecutors, meanwhile, said the man’s debt and flailing career led him to kill his parents in order to collect his share of the inheritance.

Source: La Crosse Tribune, “Koula’s kids to inherit $740K,” Anne Jungen, March 28, 2013